Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold (June 25, 1886 -- January 15, 1950) was an American general officer holding the grades of General of the Army and later General of the Air Force. Arnold was an aviation pioneer, Chief of the Air Corps (1938--1941), Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, the only Air Force general to hold five-star rank, and the only person to hold a five-star rank in two different U.S. military services. Instructed in flying by the Wright Brothers, Arnold was one of the first military pilots worldwide, and one of the first three rated pilots in the history of the United States Air Force. He overcame a fear of flying that resulted from his experiences with early flight, supervised the expansion of the Air Service during World War I, and became a protégé of Gen. Billy Mitchell.
Arnold rose to command the Army Air Forces immediately prior to U.S. entry into World War II and directed its expansion into the largest and most powerful Air Force in the world. An advocate of technological research and development, his tenure saw the development of the intercontinental bomber, the jet fighter, the extensive use of radar, global airlift and atomic warfare as mainstays of modern air power. Arnold's most widely-used nickname, "Hap," was apparently short for "Happy," attributed variously to work associates when he moonlighted as a stunt pilot or to his wife. He was called Harley by his family during his youth, and "Sunny" by his mother. Arnold was known to his West Point classmates as "Pewt" or "Benny". By his immediate subordinates and headquarters staff he was referred to as "The Chief."
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